Art Group Profile: Amanda
We are starting a new monthly blog featuring the community partners and volunteers who contribute so much to the success of the DASH safe housing programs. Amanda volunteers every week in the children’s Art Group. Read below to see what her favorite art project has been!
1. Why did you decide to start volunteering with DASH?
I’ve always had a passion for volunteering. When I moved to DC two years ago, I was looking for volunteer opportunities that were consistent and that I could really make a commitment to. I first heard about DASH from one of my friends who was a volunteer. I was definitely interested in volunteering here based on what a great organization DASH seemed to be. I also have always had a passion for art. So when an opportunity presented itself to volunteer on a weekly basis for Art Group, it seemed like it could be a really good fit. After the first Tuesday night of volunteering for Art Group, I knew that it was actually a great fit!
2. What is your favorite Art Project that you have created in group thus far?
I really thought about this question, and what I continuously went back to was when we made snowflakes right before the Holidays. No matter what age the children were, this project presented no requirements or restrictions, like painting in the lines, etc. They could fold the pieces of paper into any type of fold, could fold it in half, or fold it ten times, and they could cut whatever shapes they wanted to into it. No matter what, the end result was a beautiful snowflake. To me, this project really portrayed what art should be; a way to express yourself through creation. Furthermore, it was wonderful to see how excited and proud the children were when we hung the snowflakes up all over the room.
3. What’s your favorite thing about volunteering with Art Group?
Seeing what the kids create from week to week, and how they’re able to express themselves through art. Selfishly, I would also say that it forces me to focus on and appreciate the here and now and leave everything else at the door for at least an hour and a half. I think sometimes the focus and appreciation of the present gets lost in the busy shuffle of everyday life. It also provides a humbling reminder on a weekly basis of what matters most; the importance of community and taking care of one another in that community.
4. Why do you think that Art Group is an important program at DASH?
As cliche as this sounds, to me, art can be therapeutic on a diversity of levels. If you’re having a bad day or whatever you may be going through, doing art on any level – whether it’s painting, cutting shapes, coloring, or creating a Monet-like masterpiece; it forces you to focus on what you are doing in that moment and takes your mind off of everything else, if even for a short period of time. Basically, it’s like a breath of fresh air for your mind.
Art Group at DASH is important because for an hour and a half, it provides an opportunity for the kids – no matter what their age is – to focus on creating something that is completely unrelated to anything else, and provides that mental breath of fresh air. Further, I think that through creating something like a piece of artwork that they are excited about and proud of, it helps build their confidence through a tremendously fun mechanism.